Global warming plans

Mr Penguin and I were discussing global warming last night. Specifically, what should we do right now if we believed that all the worst case stuff was really true? Let’s posit a scenario. In 20 years time, the climate of Australia has changed irrecovably, so that our current drought is a good year. The sea level is starting to creep up, as the Antarctic ice sheet melts – we’re now getting increased storm surges, and the waterfront parts of Manly beach are looking a bit shaky. The average temperature has gone up enough so that Sydney city now has 10 or so days above 30 degrees each month of summer, and the west of Sydney is commensurately worse. The cyclone season now goes as far south as Coffs Harbour, and it’s looking as if it’s going to get worse every year.

I think at that point, we don’t yet get breakdown in society, just economic effects. But then, if it gets worse, you might not be able to fly places. You might want to stockpile food, in case of breakdowns in supply chains. Maybe keeping your money in financial instruments (like superannuation) isn’t that sensible. Maybe we should start buying gold? Maybe I should retrain as a doctor? Society always needs doctors. Maybe we should move to somewhere that’s less reliant than Sydney city on the smooth functioning of every part of society.

Mr Penguin suggested we should buy a holiday house in the Southern Highlands, as insurance. I’m inclined to the North Island of New Zealand, myself. Although it’s further away, so less use as a holiday house (and riskier, in terms of getting to it, in case aeroplane travel gets expensive or impossible), it’s a fertile country, not too hot, with excellent rainfall, and not too many people. I’m a citizen of New Zealand. Perhaps I should start by renewing my passport.

  9 comments for “Global warming plans

  1. November 4, 2006 at 8:56 pm

    I think the perfect solution is for America to get rid of its cars.

  2. November 6, 2006 at 1:59 am

    It’s always fun to blame the Americans, elsewhere, and of course there’s always a good reason to do so.

    But according to this paper, Australia actually has higher greenhouse gas emissions per capita than the U.S. Quite a feat, no?

    But for your much smaller population size, you too could be the focal point for the world’s anger.

  3. November 6, 2006 at 8:53 am

    Must admit, I keep half an eye on the vacancies in HE administration in New Zealand advertised over here. You never know! We live close enough to the city centre for the Thames to lap at our doorstep if the Thames Barrier goes down. My workplace, Parliament, Central London as far west as Notting Hill would all be under water. And as for Essex and East Anglia, well…

  4. November 6, 2006 at 7:28 pm

    Phantom, I almost wish the rest of the world would start blaming us, so our government would actually take the problem seriously. As it is, we swap around between saying it’s not our fault we’re a large coal producer, and saying that there’s no point in us fixing anything while China and India are refusing to do anything.

  5. November 7, 2006 at 12:16 am

    Well, being a focal point for the world’s anger doesn’t seem to motivate my government to do the right thing, so I suppose it’s just as well that you’re not a target of anger!

  6. November 7, 2006 at 7:53 am

    This is interesting. I used to think about this a lot, though I haven’t lately. There’s only so long a time that a person can focus on apocalyse.

    Anyway — I used to think not what I’d do to prepare for a warming world, but what I’d do to stop contributing to it. For awhile I eschewed the car, which I can do because I telecommute; I bought as much local produce & goods as possible; I walked around the house tossing items which require batteries; and I unplugged as much as I could. Your post reminds me that it’s time to do that exercise again!

  7. November 9, 2006 at 4:54 pm

    Well, if you’re going to be serious, then I think planning a non-Australia escape clause is a good idea.

    Meanwhile, replace as many of your lightbulbs as you can with compact flourescents. I know it’s totally silly even to mention this, but if everyone did it, the energy savings (and lower coal emissions from the power plants) are genuinely astonishing. Ditto replacement of old furnaces etc in really old buildings.

    We’re going to have to make dramatic dramatic change, but in the meantime, do all the small things we can!

  8. November 14, 2006 at 10:33 am

    I have been thinking about this post of yours. I was wondering. Have you ever heard of targets for domiciles? I mean, have you ever heard something like: a family a four living in an 1800 sq ft house should set a target of: x gallons of garbage a week, x kwh of electricity, x cu ft of water, etc. etc.?

    I work well with targets. Esp. if I get to feel good because I exceeded them : )

  9. November 14, 2006 at 10:34 pm

    I haven’t found something like that, but one of our local councils had a very high level “check your global footprint” which I found interesting. I think one of the links (the Victorian one) goes to a fairly detailed calculator.
    http://www.mosman.nsw.gov.au/environment/footprint.html

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